The first major cup final of the season takes place at Wembley on Sunday. Tom Carnduff has a 22/1 best bet to back.
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Chelsea v Manchester City (Wembley, 1630 GMT, Sky Sports Main Event)
If this game was played back in December, we'd expect it to be a final that could go either way. However, Manchester City should successfully defend their Carabao Cup title when they take on Chelsea at the national stadium.
The Blues were hammered 6-0 away at City in their recent Premier League meeting and followed that up with a 2-0 defeat at home to Manchester United in the FA Cup.
The crowd were vocal in their dissatisfaction of 'Sarri-ball' during the loss on Monday night. It appears that Maurizio Sarri has not only lost the dressing room, but the Chelsea faithful too.
Add to that the news that emerged on Friday and it's been a torrid time for the club. FIFA announcing that Chelsea would be the subject of a transfer ban for the next two windows, although they intend to appeal that decision.
The fact that Chelsea are available at a price of 5/1 to win in 90 minutes shows how unfancied they are here. It has to be one of the biggest prices that the club have been in a domestic cup final, with 11/4 available on them to lift the trophy.
City on the other hand are buoyed by the fact that they came from behind to beat Schalke away from home in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
A wonderful Leroy Sane free-kick, combined with Raheem Sterling's effort minutes later, wrapped up a 3-2 scoreline - which came despite Nicolas Otamendi receiving a red card in the 68th minute.
They are full of confidence while the opposition is desperately void of it. It should be another afternoon to remember for the team in sky blue.
Score prediction: Chelsea 0-3 Manchester City (Sky Bet odds: 10/1)
The last time these two met in a final, they posted the highest-scoring final in Wembley history as Chelsea won 5-4 in the Full Members Cup back in 1986. Are we going to see a repeat, or maybe even more goals? Probably not. However, City were dominate in their 6-0 battering of the Blues in their recent meeting at the Etihad and should have another comfortable afternoon here.
The pressure continues to pile on Sarri and it's hard to see how the players will be motivated enough to even compete, let alone win, the first major domestic Cup of the season.
Another tackle-based bet given how we were so close to a winner on Monday night. An unusually quiet night for Nemanja Matic meant that the combined tackle count of 16 players missed out by a few.
One player who did play their part in that game was Cesar Azpilicueta. He made four successful tackles, the joint-highest of any Chelsea player, and he should post a similar tally here.
What makes this bet great value at 22/1 is that the four players exceeding that tackle count in the recent meeting between the two sides. There was a total of 16, and while we probably won't see a similar scoreline, we'll still see an intention for attack.
If, as expected, both teams go full strength then the four players named above should all start. The value is in the tackles when it comes to stats betting and the odds on offer from Sky Bet are well worth taking.
Can City complete the quadruple?
From the feature on Sportinglife.com earlier this week...
"This is a trophy that seems a certainty for City this season. They are in the final at Wembley and take on a Chelsea side who they dismantled 6-0 just weeks ago.
"Chelsea have shown little signs of improvement since that defeat either. The Blues did pick up an expected victory over Malmo in the Europa League, but they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United.
"What we saw in that defeat last time out was how Maurizio Sarri has not only lost the dressing room, but how he has also lost the support of the Chelsea faithful too.
"There's a reluctance by Sarri to change his system. The same substitutes are used time and time again and it is proving costly. To Sarri's credit, he has guided them to Wembley but the 11/4 price available on them to lift the trophy on Sunday highlights the huge task they face.
"The statistics are on the side of City heading into the final too. Chelsea have already been beaten three times at Wembley this season and one of those games was in the Community Shield against Guardiola's men.
"In what has proven to be a record-breaking City team, they have the opportunity to become just the fourth team to retain the League Cup in consecutive years. Manchester United (2009/2010), Liverpool (1981 to 1984) and Nottingham Forest (1978/1979 and 1989/1990) being the only clubs to have done it in the past.
"This team have already shown that they can capitalise on weaker opposition. That goes for the likes of Rotherham and Burton in Cup competitions this season, but it also applies to teams with low morale.
"It's hard to create an argument for Chelsea on Sunday, especially if Sarri is in charge, and that's why the Citizens are heavily fancied to pick up their first major trophy of the 2018/19 campaign."
- Chelsea and Manchester City are set to face in a League Cup final for the first time – both sides have won the trophy five times previously, with only Liverpool winning it more often (eight times).
- This is the first League Cup meeting between Chelsea and Manchester City since the third round in 1993-94, when Brian Horton’s City side won 1-0 at Maine Road with a goal from David White.
- Excluding Community Shield matches, Chelsea and Manchester City have only met in the final of a competition on one previous occasion – the 1985-86 Full Members Cup final at Wembley, a 5-4 victory for Chelsea, which remains the highest scoring final in Wembley history.
- Manchester City, 2018 winners of the League Cup against Arsenal, are looking to become only the fourth team to retain the trophy in consecutive years, after Man Utd (2009 and 2010), Liverpool (four years between 1981 and 1984) and Nottingham Forest (1978 and 1979 & 1989 and 1990).
- Chelsea have already lost three times at Wembley this season, losing in the Community Shield against Manchester City and in the Premier League and League Cup semi-final against Spurs.
- Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus has scored more goals than any other player in this season’s League Cup (5) – but all five have come against League One sides (one v Oxford, four v Burton). Jesus has never scored a League Cup goal against Premier League opposition (5 games, 0 goals).
- Should one, or more, of Manchester City trio David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero score, they could become the first players to score in back-to-back League Cup finals since Didier Drogba did so for Chelsea in 2006-07 and 2007-08.
- Since the start of the 2012-13 season, no player has been involved in more League Cup goals for a Premier League side than Chelsea’s Eden Hazard (14 - 8 goals, 6 assists).
- Sergio Aguero has scored 13 goals in 16 appearances in all competitions against Chelsea for Manchester City, only scoring more often against Newcastle United for the Citizens (15).
- Only three players have scored more goals for a top-flight club against an opponent at Wembley than Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has against Chelsea (3) – Harry Kane against Southampton and Eric Cantona against Liverpool (4 goals) and Ian Rush against Everton (5 goals).
- Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri could become the second Italian to win the League Cup, after Gianluca Vialli who won the trophy with the Blues in 1998.
- No team has had more scorers in this season’s League Cup than Manchester City (8, level with Norwich City and West Ham).